Peggy looked around again. The crowd at the Stork Club hadn't changed since the last time she checked – it was thick with unfamiliar faces. Not a single person she knew. And still not the one person she cared about, the one person who told her he would be there.
A week next Saturday.
He'll come. He promised.
Eight o'clock on the dot, don't you dare be late.
It was 8:30. Maybe he got lost. She did say eight, right?
"You got it."
It was just a snippet from some other conversation, between other frequenters of the club who weren't waiting for people who would never come. But suddenly all she could hear was his voice, resounding in her head. The band started playing a slow song.
The slight sense of pity she felt when she saw the scrawny boy from Brooklyn in line with the other soldiers.
The sense of awe when she saw that same scrawny boy in all his glory after the serum.
The sudden burst of disbelief and fear when she heard the sergeant report him killed in action.
The pride and relief when he came back from his suicide mission with 400 men in tow.
The anger and betrayal that clouded her mind when she saw him with Lorraine.
The embarrassment mingled with euphoria that filled her when she saw her own face on his compass in the film.
The empathy and sorrow she felt for him while he tried to drink away Bucky's death.
The rush that came over her when they finally kissed.
The desperation, the need to find a way to fix things, to bring him back to her, when he realized what he had to do.
The complete overwhelming dread that twisted like a knife in her heart when the radio went dead – and this time, he wasn't going to march in, victorious, having overcome all the odds. This time…
Hearing those three words brought everything, all the things she felt from the moment she first saw him to right then, crashing down on her shoulders. Tears splashed onto the table in time with the slow beat of the band's song. She glanced at the door of the club again, clinging desperately to her last shred of hope.
He promised he would be here.
But the door stayed shut.
Her vision grew hazy with tears. He wasn't going to walk through the door, no matter how much she wished for it, no matter how much she thought he would never break a promise.
As the band finished the song, Peggy swept her hand over her eyes and stood up. She couldn't waste her time waiting for the right partner anymore. Steve Rogers was gone. And there would never be another partner like him.